Monday, 21 August 2017

Channel John Hammond in Jurassic World Evolution

During a pre-Gamescom briefing from Xbox, Jurassic World Evolution was announced from the developers of Elite Dangerous, which Rob Wainfur, founder of The Bearded Trio, reviewed previously.

Frontier Developments has based a sim around the 2015 blockbuster movie directed by Colin Trevorrow. Players will be able to unleash their inner John Hammond, played by the late Sir Richard Attenborough in Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park, and design a dinosaur theme park replete with reptilian perils for unsuspecting tourists.

Jurassic World Evolution will be released for PS4, Xbox One and PC in the summer of 2018 to coincide with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Empire looms large in Han Solo Star Wars spin-off

Director Ron Howard teased a photo from his upcoming Han Solo Star Wars spin-off, alluding to the Empire's Death Star or Star Destroyer interior, on Twitter.

Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) didn't see the Death Star until A New Hope. So, unless his memory was erased, it's unlikely the infamous battle station will appear again soon on the big screen. However, it's worth noting the standalone spin-offs are set before A New Hope and act as Disney's prequels to the original trilogy.

There's a danger of repetition, something the Star Wars saga is known for, what with Rogue One centered around stealing the Death Star plans. But, the Death Star is familiar to filmgoers, so who knows. That said, I'm all for Solo breaking into a detention block and setting an imprisoned Chewbacca free before escaping in the Millennium Falcon with TIE Fighters in hot pursuit.

So, what do you think? Will Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and Chewbacca be aboard the Death Star or not? Let me know in the comments below.

The untitled Han Solo spin-off is scheduled for release 25th May, 2018.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

George Lucas still has his say on Star Wars

George Lucas may have sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 Billion in 2012. But, the creator of Star Wars still offers advice to the Mouse House. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy tells Entertainment Weekly (EW):

“Not really, but he’ll whisper in my ear every now and then. Usually, it’s something specific or important to him about Jedi training. Things like that.”

Star Wars was released over 40 years ago in America and it's understandable Lucas would still have an interest in his blockbuster creation. Director Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi seemingly centres on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) training Rey (Daisy Ridley). Kennedy goes on to say:

“I think he’s starting to settle into this and just be a fan. It’s taken a while. It’s hard to let go, after 40 years. That’s a lot of expectation and things he thought a lot about. Suddenly that next generation, that whole thematic idea he came up with, is in process.”

Lucas planned 9 movies as evidenced by the liner notes of The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack release. However, the sequel trilogy and standalone spin-offs are very much the vision of Kennedy and Disney.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Rey's identity to be revealed in The Last Jedi

Rey (Daisy Ridley) is the 'Rosebud' of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. An enigma spawning countless fan theories since The Force Awakens. However, Star Wars: The Last Jedi promises to shed light on the character's origins.

“To me, it’s important insofar as it’s important to her. And I think it’s important to her in terms of what is her place in all of this?”, director Rian Johnson told Entertainment Weekly (EW).

"What’s going to define her in this story? She was told in the last movie that the answer’s not in the past; it’s looking forward. But she’s showing up on this island to talk to this hero from the past.

"You can be told [‘the answer’s not in the past’], but I think she still has a lingering hope that she’s going to find the thing that’s going to say: This is where you belong. This is where you are. I think she still holds onto the thought that where she comes from will help define where she’s going."

In the same interview, Daisy Ridley teased the big reveal won’t necessarily affect Rey’s journey in Star Wars.

“You can always look for answers and that doesn’t mean that the rest of your life is so easy”, she explained.

“It’s not like, ‘oh, I know who my parents are so now everything falls into shape’, especially in the Star Wars world.”

Who do you think Rey is? Anakin Skywalker reincarnated, Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter or something else? Let me know in the comments below.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set for release on 15th December.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Praetorian Guards from The Last Jedi

The enigmatic Emperor's Royal Guards captured my childhood imagination whilst leafing through the pages of a toy catalogue prior to the release of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (EW) looks at Snoke's crimson Praetorian Guards. An updating of the Royal Guards for director Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi.

“The Emperor’s guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t,” writer-director Rian Johnson tells EW. “They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”

The evolution in design since the original trilogy is welcome and I'm looking forward to seeing the Praetorian Guards in battle aboard Snoke's Mega Star Destroyer (confirmed by an Amazon listing ahead of Force Friday II).

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theatres 15th December.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Constantine to join DC's Legends of Tomorrow?

John Constantine's (Matt Ryan) cameo in Arrow was a highlight of season four. The producers of DC's Legends of Tomorrow want Constantine to join the battle against Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) in season three of the time travelling spin-off series.

Galvanised by a stellar second season, producer Marc Guggenheim sheds light on the upcoming season-long story arc:

"Damien Darhk is going to be the leader of this group in the way Thawne was sort of the boss last year for the Legion of Doom. This group is distinctly led up by Damien. We have a fun way to bring him back that kind of plays into the season-long mythology."

Returning to the fray is Wentworth Miller as a 'bizarro' Captain Cold.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns 10th October on The CW. Stablemates Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl premiere the same week.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Harry Potter scribe to write Star Wars: Episode IX

Star Wars: Episode IX is getting a rewrite after Colin Trevorrow and writing partner Derek Connolly had previously submitted drafts of the script.

Jack Thorne has been hired by Lucasfilm to work on the final film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Thorne is best known for his work on This Is England and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I had the pleasure of meeting Thorne during a screening of This Is England '86 at the BFI. He was unassuming and endlessly funny.

The Colin Trevorrow directed sequel is scheduled to begin principle photography in January. This is a few weeks after Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi premieres in theatres.

Disney has too much at stake with the beloved franchise. Especially in the wake of Chris Lord and Phil Miller being replaced by Ron Howard on the untitled Han Solo spin-off weeks from completion. So, really excited to see what Jack Thorne does in a galaxy far, far away...

Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release 24th May 2019.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Walking Dead Season 8 first look trailer at SDCC

The Walking Dead returns to television screens this October only on Fox.

A new 5-minute trailer for season 8 premiered during a panel with cast and crew at SDCC. It teases a time jump and promises more action. Season 7 lost dramatic impetus in a reprise of the second second (the first time I stopped watching the apocalyptic soap noir). So much so, I didn't bother continuing after the mid-season break. By this time, DCTV had my exclusive attention.

On the strength of this trailer, I'll resume The Walking Dead when all box sets start streaming again on NOW TV this September.

In related news. During the quieter summer months - the return of Game of Thrones notwithstanding - I'm catching up with genre series that didn't warrant immediate viewing.

Fear the Walking Dead seemingly continues to struggle to find a voice despite an impressive cast. Oftentimes the production is middling and there's a palpable lack of fear factor despite a promising start. Presumably AMC has invested too much in the brand to mothball the prequel series for now. Fear the Walking Dead is in need of a soft reboot.

The Walking Dead shuffles back on 23rd October on Fox.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Radio Flyer announces Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder

Many Star Wars fans (myself included) wanted to own a full-size replica of Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder growing up. Alas, fans had to settle for Kenner's toy vehicle when the first film in George Lucas' space opera was released in 1977.

Now, Radio Flyer has announced a kid-sized Landspeeder for the next generation of fans.

"The first kid-sized Landspeeder you can drive. Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder™ by Radio Flyer is modelled after the sand-pocked and sun-faded X-34 craft from Star Wars: A New Hope. With seats for 2 riders, an interactive dashboard with lights and real movie sounds, and a 5mph driving speed, this speeder provides a truly galactic driving experience.

The gear shift switches between 2mph forward, 5mph forward, or 2mph reverse. 12V rechargeable battery and charger included. For ages 4+, max weight 130 lbs."

The attention to detail is incredible and I'm in no way envious of younger fans when this ships from Toys "R" Us following Force Friday II.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

BBC responds to Jodie Whittaker casting complaints

Reactions from fans have run the gamut in the wake of Jodie Whittaker's casting as Doctor Who. From delight to dismay. Now, the BBC has formally responded to complaints.

"Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of the Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the programme. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series.

The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.

As the Controller of BBC Drama has said, Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.

We hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story."

Personally, I can't wait to see Whittaker's take on my favourite time traveller. Your mileage may vary. I'll leave you with Chris Hardwick's reaction to Doct-Her Who on Comedy Central.